Just Dandy: Residents Want Rural County to Ban Farming

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BATTLEGROUND: Historic York County is facing a land war of a different kind as some residents seek to pre-empt Virginia’s right-to-farm law. Photo courtesy of York County.

BATTLEGROUND: Historic York County is facing a land war of a different kind as some residents seek to pre-empt Virginia’s right-to-farm law. Photo courtesy of York County.

By Kenric Ward | From Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

YORK, Va. — Attempting to pre-empt Virginia’s freedom-to-farm law, residents in a York County community want local officials to ban agricultural activity in their neighborhood.

More than 130 Dandy residents have signed a petition asking the Board of Supervisors to ban commercial farming — a move to thwart state legislation restricting local government’s power to regulate agriculture and aquaculture.

With the state law taking effect Jan. 1, residents in the small suburb of Dandy on Tuesday are taking their case to the county board.

The Dandy initiative is modeled after new zoning rules in Seaford’s York Point, which prescribe “low density single-family residential development” where properties are “arranged and situated in a relatively compact subdivision setting.”

Virginia’s farm-freedom law — named after Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta — allows municipalities to set “performance standards” that limit measurable requirements, such as lot size for a farming operation.

York County Attorney James Barnett said performance standards for distance and minimum lot size are the most legally sound options available to the county of 66,000 people.

The Eastern Shore land war comes amid a court challenge by Anthony Bavuso, a local oysterman. Bavuso asserts that York County cannot require him to obtain a special use permit for his oyster-farming operation at York Point.

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Boneta told Watchdog.org on Monday that she was “deeply saddened” by the events in York. “Property rights and freedom are inseparable, and I am heartbroken that family farmers may no longer be able to engage in farming on their land,” she said.

“I think we have too many people trying to tell other people what to do,” said Joel Salatin, a nationally renowned ag-rights advocate and farmer in Swoope, Va.

“One of my restaurants I supplied with eggs when I was a teenager had a sign hanging up behind the counter that said: ‘A good monkey is a monkey that doesn’t monkey with another monkey’s monkey,’” he said.

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at 571-319-9824. @Kenricward 

Related articles:
Seaford Oyster Farmer Moves Forward with Suit Against York County
York County’s Own ‘Forbidden Oysters’
The Lifelong Dream to be a Farmer in Virginia
Virginia Farm Embraces Innovative Alternative Agriculture

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  • Michael Billewicz

    This is in tune with the idea that having a vegetable garden could soon be illegal across the US. Really?

    I’m always amazed when folks move to a remote area and then demand it look like a city. Go back to the city, please.

    You move to a quiet farming community and ban farming. You move to the wild mountains and want all the wildlife killed off because it might eat your teacup dog. You move to the shore and develop wetlands for the view. Then you want to tax and limit the fisheries. Next you’ll be bitching the price of local fresh blue crab and oysters is too high.



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